Forest Home cemetery Montcalm county

Leonard Fleck

Leonard Fleck, also known as “Flake,” was born March 31, 1838 in Camden, Hillsdale County, Michigan, the son of John (b. 1805).

Leonard’s father was born in Pennsylvania and the family probably moved from Ohio (where his older brother George was born) to Michigan sometime between 1830 and 1838, and by 1850 John was working as a farmhand for one Benjamin Bradley in Camden, while Leonard was attending school and living with the Edwin Merriman family in Reading, Hillsdale County. By 1860 Leonard was working as a day laborer and living with George and his family in Fairplains, Montcalm County. His father had apparently married New York native Mary (b. 1834) in about 1853 or 1854, and was working as a farmer and living in Sidney, Montcalm County in 1860.

Leonard stood 5’8” with a dark complexion, dark eyes and dark hair and was 20 years old and residing in Greenville, Montcalm County when he enlisted in Company F on May 13, 1861. He was a company cook in August of 1862, and in September was Adjutant’s clerk.

He was wounded on May 3, 1863, at Chancellorsville, Virginia, and subsequently hospitalized serving as a nurse in July. Leonard soon returned to the Regiment and was wounded again, this time in the left ankle, on November 27, 1863, at Mine Run, Virginia. He was sent to the “Methodist church” hospital in Alexandria, Virginia, and remained there for some three months when he later claimed he was returned to the regiment where he remained until he was mustered out on June 20, 1864, at Detroit. (It is in fact uncertain whether he did return to the regiment since his service record does not list him as present on duty at that time.)

In any case, following his discharge Leonard eventually returned to Montcalm County

Leonard was reportedly living in Sidney, Montcalm County when he married another Sidney resident, Ohio native and widow Elizabeth Barret (b. 1839) on January 1, 1865, in Montcalm County. (Her first husband, Sylvester Barrett had died in early 1864 while in the army, and she was left with two children from her previous marriage. Leonard had apparently adopted them by 1870.)

By 1870 Leonard was working as a farmer and living with his wife and her two children in Sydney, Montcalm County. He probably lived the remainder of his life in Montcalm County working for many years as a farmer and carpenter.

According to Elizabeth they separated around 1871 (in fact they separated on October 15, 1871). She claimed that “he ran around with other women” but that “he was good in other respects.” She added that about 20 years later “he tried to have me take him back and acknowledged the fault was his.” After they separated Leonard went to live with his brother George and his family in Fairplains, Montcalm County. He never did get a divorce.

Nevertheless, he married his second wife, Lydia Butler on November 16, 1879, also in Montcalm County. She too had been married before and had at least three sons by her previous marriage (William, Edwin and James).

It is not known what became of Lydia, but Leonard married his third wife, one Amanda Wisel around 1880 and was possibly living in Six Lakes, Montcalm County around that time as well. Amanda herself claimed in 1904 that she and Leonard were married ‘about 25 years ago.”

A half-brother Roswell Fleck claimed that he had heard Leonard lived in Grand Rapids for a year or two and while there he married a woman named Carrie Mason but that they separated soon after returning to Greenville, Montcalm County and she moved back to Grand.

By 1880 Leonard was working as a farmer and living with his wife and step-sons in Belvidere, Montcalm County, and in 1883 he was living in Greenville, Montcalm County.

It appears that sometime in the mid-1880s Leonard served time in prison in Michigan. His first wife Elizabeth claimed that Leonard had been in the jail at Stanton, Montcalm County for about six months and in the prison at Jackson for two or three years; all of this reportedly happened sometime in the early to mid-1880s. This was substantiated by his niece, Euphenia Briggs, who testified in 1904 that Leonard was sent to Jackson state prison for some two or three years.

He was living in Greenville in 1890 when he became a member of the Old Third Michigan Infantry Association and in Montcalm, Montcalm County in 1894.

In 1883 he applied for and received a pension (no. 255848).

Leonard reportedly took up with a woman named Stella Benjamin and the two of them apparently stayed together until his death in 1900.

Leonard died of acute bronchitis in Montcalm Township on March 4, 1900, and was buried in the Grand Army of the Republic section of Forest Home cemetery in Greenville.

In December of 1903 his first wife Elizabeth applied for and received for a widow’s pension based on the military service of her first husband, Sylvester Barrett.

James K. Fisher

James K. Fisher was born 1842 in Michigan, the son of Erastus (b. 1814) and Sarah R. (b. 1819).

Massachusetts native Erastus was living in Sutton, Worcester County, Massachusetts in 1840. He eventually moved west and in April of 1841 was living in Ypsilanti, Washtenaw County, Michigan, when he married another Ypsilanti resident, Mrs. Sarah Taylor at the Methodist church in Ypsilanti. By 1850 James was living with his family in Emmett, Calhoun County, where Erastus was working as a mason. By 1860 Erastus was working as a farmer living in Greenville, Montcalm County (but James is not living with them).

James was 19 years old and probably still living in Montcalm County when he enlisted in Company A on May 13, 1861. Shortly after the Regiment reached Washington, DC, on June 16, 1861, the Greenville Independent reprinted a letter from a member of Company A to his parents who resided in Greenville, to describe the journey from Michigan to Washington. Present research leads to the likely conclusion that the writer was in fact James Fisher.

You have probably read of our departure from Grand Rapids. We had a grand time; people were rushing for the depot to bestow some encouraging word or some gift upon the departing soldiers, and at every station on our road they were assembled to see us, and you may be sure that we did not lack for food; we were given flowers by the bushel, coffee, lemonade, and everything else, in the shape of edibles. After marching through Detroit we took the boats for Cleveland and had a pleasant night’s ride. All along the route from Cleveland to Harrisburgh [Pennsylvania], the people were as anxious to see us as those in Michigan. Our route lay through a most delightful country. We got glimpses of the oil wells, coal mines and iron works, and, as we crossed the Alleghany Mountains, we passed some grand and awful places -- two tunnels, the first three quarters of a mile lone, and a short curve on the side of the mountain, where we could look straight down 175 feet on one side, and on the other, where the rock did not project too much, up 200 feet -- enough to make one hold his breath.

At Harrisburgh we stopped two hours for arms, ammunition and refreshments, and, when we again embarked on board the cars, and were placed in regimental order, expecting to have a fight passing through Baltimore, where we arrived Sunday morning [June 16] at 8 o’clock. Every man was ordered to prime [his weapon] and be in readiness to resist an attack, but we were disappointed, though some were very ill but recovered before reaching Washington. We were escorted in fine style through the city by the Police force -- were treated with the utmost respect, and complimented as being the finest regiment that had passed through there. -- I saw few persons besides negroes. We had a merry time going from Baltimore to Washington where we arrived at 10 a.m., and marched to our post, Georgetown Heights, two and a half miles from the Capitol. The city is full of soldiers in all kinds of uniforms, which gives a picturesque air to all the surroundings. Our camp is on the banks of the Potomac -- stationed there to guard the [Chain] Bridge -- and in the midst of scenery which almost bewilders one with its beauty. Cool, soft springs, shady groves and musical brooks are all around us.

We have had some few incidents of interest: one night a spy is shot at, the next, two of the enemy’s pickets are captured, and the next morning are released, and we have just heard heavy cannonading in the direction of Fairfax Court House, though we have not learned the particulars.

James was absent sick, probably in the Regimental hospital, from August 23, 1862, until he was admitted to the Third Division general hospital at Alexandria, Virginia on March 24, 1864, suffering from an “old sunstroke.” He was discharged by Special Order no. 185, War Department, dated May 23, 1864, at Knight hospital in New Haven, Connecticut.

James returned to his family home in Greenville, Montcalm County, Michigan, where he died of “quick consumption” on May 23, 1866, age 24 years, and was buried in Greenville’s Forest Home cemetery, Grand Army of the Republic section, grave no. 1 (originally L-842).

In 1867 his parents moved to Big Rapids where his father opened up a store and by 1870 his parents were living in Big Rapids’ Second Ward where his father was reported as a retired merchant (with some $10,000 in real estate). In 1873 they sold out and moved to Grand Rapids, Kent County, and in 1879 moved to Paris, Mecosta County, where they wer living in 1880. By 1886 they were residing in Greenville, Montcalm County.

In 1883 his mother applied for and received a pension (no. 251834).

Martin Beebe

Martin Beebe was born about 1825 in Genesee County, New York, possibly the son of Theophilus (b. 1795) and Harriet (b. 1797).

New York natives Theophilus and Harriet were presumably married in New York where they resided for many years. By 1850 Martin was probably working as a farmer and living with his family on a large farm (his father owned some $2000 worth of real estate) in Lysander, Onondaga County.

Martin was married to New York native Nancy J. Kincaid (1828-1881), in Onondaga County, New York, and they had at least three children: Mary E. (b. 1851), Sama J. (b. 1854) and Rosella, Rosalia or Rose L. (b. 1857).

Martin and his wife resided in New York for some years. Between 1851 and 1854 Martin took his family and left New York state and by 1860 had settled in western Michigan where he was working as a farmer living with his wife and children in Cascade Township, Kent County.

Martin stood 5’8” with blue eyes, brown hair and a light complexion, and was 36 years old and probably still living in Cascade when he enlisted in Company B on May 13, 1861. He was present for duty through August but by October had been reported as absent sick, quite possibly at Seminary Hospital in Georgetown, DC, reportedly suffering from fever.

He apparently returned to the regiment but suffered a relapse in the field and in December he was listed as “sick in quarters”, implying that if he had been hospitalized he was most likely back with the regiment but not performing any duty. (He was also reportedly treated at a field hospital in or near Arlington, Virginia.) In any case, he remained sick in his quarters through April and was discharged for consumption on June 5, 1862, near Fair Oaks, Virginia.

After his discharge from the army Martin returned home to Cascade where he reentered the service in Company H, Sixth Michigan cavalry on September 10, 1862, for 3 years, crediting Cascade, and was mustered October 1 at Grand Rapids where the regiment was being organized. He was left sick at Camp Kellogg in Grand Rapids, on December 10 when the regiment left for Washington (where it would participate in the defenses until June of 1863).

He was still sick in camp in Michigan in February of 1863. According to Martin, “on or about the 17th day of November 1862, while with his company going through skirmisher drill at Camp Kellogg . . . and while scouting through a piece of woods, he was struck in the right eye by a limb or bough of a tree which injured the eye in such a manner as to cause the entire loss of sight within the next month.”

In fact, it quite likely that Martin never left Michigan and probably remained at his home in Cascade or in Grand Rapids at the rendezvous camp until he was discharged for disability (probably for the injury of the right eye) on April 1, 1863, at Detroit. By the end of the month he was reportedly living at his home in Cascade.

Martin settled for a time in Stanton, Montcalm County, but apparently he and his wife moved back to New York and were living either in Lockport, Niagara County, New York or at 482 Main Street in Buffalo, in May of 1880. His wife Nancy died the following year in Lockport. Martin subsequently returned to western Michigan and was was undergoing treatment for a lung ailment in 1882 in Montcalm County.

It seems that Martin was married to one Amelia C., and they were living in McBride in 1884. (Curiously, Martin never mentions this marriage in any of his subsequent affidavits to the Pension Bureau. Yet when he was admitted to the Michigan Soldier’s Home in 1890 he was reported as a married man, and not as a widower, while his nearest relative was listed as his daughter Rosa, then living in Stanton.)

In any case, according to Amelia’s statement (undated) she had

been in attendance of all his sickness since 1884 in March he was taken violently sick with lung complaint and bleed [sic] for some time. Had to have the doctor which treated him for some time. He was confined to his bed about 4 weeks. He got Hall’s Lung Balsom and used that through the summer. In the winter of 184 & 5 he was taken again with lung trouble and came very near bleeding to death and was sick all winter and unable to do but any little work for one year. He has complained all summer with pain right lung. About a week ago he was taken very sudden with pneumonia. [He] thought he was dying and the doctor thought so. We had all we could do to keep him alive for he knew but little for 48 hours. He has not been able to do anything since, When he is very sick he employs a doctor, other times he has prescriptions [and] also uses patent medicines.

Martin apparently recovered, however, and was living in McBride, Montcalm County by 1887, and for many years worked off and on as a farmer. Montcalm County marriage records list one Martin Beebe who married on Mrs. Susan S. Joseph in Montcalm, on October 17, 1888.

He listed himself as a married man when he entered the Michigan Soldiers’ Home (no. 1274) on March 17, 1890, was dropped on July 16, 1891, and probably returned to Montcalm County. He was a member of Grand Army of the Republic McCook Post No. 94 in McBride, but not a member of the Old Third Michigan Infantry Association (although he was listed in their records).

Martin apparently moved to Indiana and was probably living in South Bend in 1893. He was a widower when he married his fourth (or third or second) wife, Christina Heaton, on March 20, 1895, in Goshen, Indiana, and Martin was residing in Elkhart, Indiana in 1897 and 1898.

In 1862 he applied for and received pension no. 259,332, drawing $12.00 per month by September of 1899.

Martin died possibly in Indiana or perhaps in Montcalm County. In any case, he was buried in the Grand Army of the Republic section of Forest Home cemetery in Greenville.